Farmer Focus: Relieved to be over TB test hurdle

Following last month’s TB test, I’m pleased to report we were all clear.

However, I experienced my first incident of online “trolling” when my comments (made with tongue firmly in cheek) on badger control were taken a bit too literally by the badger-loving fraternity on Twitter.

Some people have too much time on their hands.

See also: Refreshed TB programme announced for Wales

About the author

Colin Murdoch
Ayrshire farmer and zero grazer Colin Murdoch switched from Holsteins to milking 225 Jerseys in 2019. The 182ha farm grows 40ha of winter and spring barley for a total mixed ration and parlour fed system supplying Graham’s Family Dairy.
Read more articles by Colin Murdoch

I think I was still at primary school the last time we had a tag and passport inspection from the ministry, but we welcomed them last month.

The usual issue of a few missing tags popped up, but we also had a case of mistaken identity.

Two heifers born on the same day each had two tags, but only one from each pair, so a DNA test was needed. 

It was like an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show, complete with the arguing as to who tagged them. I have to say the two inspectors were great to work with, so many thanks to them.

Let’s hope it’s another 20 years before it’s our turn again.

I’m writing this article from the cab of the tractor while power-harrowing ground ready for spring barley. It’s amazing what you can get done with autosteer and a 10ha field with no poles to hit.

We’re a bit behind schedule, having had more than 50 heifers calving in the past three weeks, but ground conditions are now ideal. 

Our neighbours thought we were away on holiday, but the new arrivals have taken priority. The heifers have settled into the parlour without too much hassle.

Interestingly, any heifers we’ve sold so far have gone on to be milked on robots elsewhere.

Zero-grazing has started again, following the enforced stop with the rain in March. We’re slowly increasing intakes and lowering concentrate, but yields are holding at 24 litres at 6.2% butterfat and 4.4% protein.

Turnout is due the week of writing this. It will be a relief when it comes, as silage stocks are getting quite tight.

I’d like to take this chance to wish our weekend milkers Emma and Michael all the very best as they look forward to their own imminent new arrival.

Amazingly, Emma had wanted to keep milking as long as she could.

I think getting to eight months is some achievement!